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Then there was his focus. Red Sox manager Terry Francona rarely spoke with him the day he pitched.
"The surlier, the better," Francona said. "The few times where he did speak, I remember thinking, 'He's not ready to pitch.'"
Schilling's shoulder injury came to light early in February 2008 when he disclosed on his blog that he and the team disagreed about the best way to treat it. He preferred surgery while the team wanted him to rehabilitate it in hopes of having him pitch that year.
Eventually, both sides agreed that surgery was best and he had it on June 23.
"I talked to him about a week ago," Dr. Craig Morgan, who performed the operation to repair his right biceps tendon and labrum, said Monday. "He said his shoulder felt fine. He's just enjoying being with his family. And the other thing he told me was he wasn't quite sure he wanted to put the time commitment and do four to six hours of exercises every day, which is what's required to come back to pitch."
Schilling was 9-8 with a 3.87 ERA in 2007 when he spent seven weeks on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis. But he was 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA in the postseason.
"(He) never backed down from any challenge," Epstein said. "One of the things people didn't realize about Schill is that he was really motivated by fear. Fear of failure."
He wasn't afraid to express his opinions.
In July 2007, he said on HBO's "Costas Now" that the refusals of Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire to address speculation about steroids use are tantamount to admissions. Last September, he said during a radio appearance that former teammate Manny Ramirez "was always kind and nice for the most part, but he'd show up the next day and say, 'I'm through with this team, I want out now.'"
Now Schilling is out -- leaving behind a distinguished career and moving on to a life away from the spotlight.
"The game was here long before I was, and will be here long after I am gone," he wrote on his blog. "The only thing I hope I did was never put in question my love for the game, or my passion to be counted on when it mattered most. I did everything I could to win every time I was handed the ball."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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